October 8, 2010

Herman Melville: Patron of the forlorn NYC


Herman Melvilles grave in Woodlawn Cemetary in the Bronx

Herman Melville's grave in Woodlawn Cemetary in the Bronx

“There now is your insular city of Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs — commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward.”

-Herman Melville, Moby-Dick

The wonderful blog Ephemeral New York took pause yesterday to note a few of the landmarks associated with our namesake and New York native son, Herman Melville.

For years he worked as a customs inspector in an office at West and Gansevoort Streets — fitting, since his mother’s relatives were the original Gansevoorts.

He would have no idea that after his death in 1891, his work would achieve great acclaim.

And thankfully so (the acclaim that is, not the part about not knowing).

Beyond reminding artists about integrity and consistency, Ephemeral New York concerns itself with the past, passing and barely extant landmarks of this great city and makes for fascinating reading for the initiated as well as the neophyte.

Paul Oliver is the marketing manager of Melville House. Previously he was co-owner of Wolfgang Books in Philadelphia.